DOD Recognizes Importance of Environment to Readiness

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For more than half a century, the annual Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have recognized the extraordinary efforts of service members and civilians across the Defense Department for protecting the environment, human health and the nation’s natural and cultural resources. Environmental stewardship enables the DOD to enhance military readiness capabilities, strengthen alliances and increase efficiencies for greater performance and affordability.

The 2019 awards were announced April 22 to coincide with the nation’s observance of Earth Day. In the spring of 1970, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin created Earth Day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, and in December 1970, Congress authorized the EPA’s creation.

Military Recognizes Importance

Each of the military services have energy and environmental agencies that monitor these efforts and there have been many important success stories including:


Navy’s Great Green Fleet

The Navy’s John C. Stennis Strike Group, which consists of an aircraft carrier and supporting vessels such as cruisers and destroyers, began using beef tallow provided by Midwest farmers mixed with marine diesel fuel to power all of its ships except the carrier, which is nuclear powered. The project was completed in 2016 and the strike group was dubbed the Great Green Fleet.

Army’s ”Net Zero” Strategy

At 17 of its installations, the Army has initiated what it calls a “Net Zero” strategy. That strategy means each installation will soon produce as much electricity and water as it uses and will eliminate solid waste disposal. This approach is designed to make installations less reliant on the outside grid or water supply, should there be an outage. It will also lower costs. For example, Fort Drum, New York, is now composting or recycling its waste.

Air Force’s ”Energy Flight Plan”

In 2017, the Air Force initiated what it dubbed the “Energy Flight Plan.” A whopping 86 percent of the Air Force’s energy consumption is from aircraft; the rest is used for operating bases and vehicles. To reduce aircraft fuel consumption, the service is looking at improved training and operations, as well as using alternative aviation fuel blends and better aircraft designs.

Click to read about the 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards.

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